PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS'BENEFITS IMPROVEMENTS ACT OF 2012
(House of Representatives - June 26, 2012)

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[Pages H3994-H3997]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




       PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS' BENEFITS IMPROVEMENTS ACT OF 2012

  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and 
pass the bill (H.R. 4018) to improve the Public Safety Officers' 
Benefits Program, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 4018

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This title may be cited as the ``Public Safety Officers' 
     Benefits Improvements Act of 2012''.

     SEC. 2. BENEFITS FOR CERTAIN NONPROFIT EMERGENCY MEDICAL 
                   SERVICE PROVIDERS; MISCELLANEOUS AMENDMENTS.

       (a) In General.--Title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and 
     Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3711 et seq.) is 
     amended--
       (1) in section 901(a) (42 U.S.C. 3791(a))--
       (A) in paragraph (26), by striking ``and'' at the end;
       (B) in paragraph (27), by striking the period at the end 
     and inserting ``; and''; and
       (C) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(28) the term `hearing examiner' includes any medical or 
     claims examiner.'';
       (2) in section 1201 (42 U.S.C. 3796)--
       (A) in subsection (a), by striking ``follows:'' and all 
     that follows and inserting the following: ``follows (if the 
     payee indicated is living on the date on which the 
     determination is made)--
       ``(1) if there is no child who survived the public safety 
     officer, to the surviving spouse of the public safety 
     officer;
       ``(2) if there is at least 1 child who survived the public 
     safety officer and a surviving spouse of the public safety 
     officer, 50 percent to the surviving child (or children, in 
     equal shares) and 50 percent to the surviving spouse;
       ``(3) if there is no surviving spouse of the public safety 
     officer, to the surviving child (or children, in equal 
     shares);
       ``(4) if there is no surviving spouse of the public safety 
     officer and no surviving child--
       ``(A) to the surviving individual (or individuals, in 
     shares per the designation, or, otherwise, in equal shares) 
     designated by the public safety officer to receive benefits 
     under this subsection in the most recently executed 
     designation of beneficiary of the public safety officer on 
     file at the time of death with the public safety agency, 
     organization, or unit; or
       ``(B) if there is no individual qualifying under 
     subparagraph (A), to the surviving individual (or 
     individuals, in equal shares) designated by the public safety 
     officer to receive benefits under the most recently executed 
     life insurance policy of the public safety officer on file at 
     the time of death with the public safety agency, 
     organization, or unit;
       ``(5) if there is no individual qualifying under paragraph 
     (1), (2), (3), or (4), to the surviving parent (or parents, 
     in equal shares) of the public safety officer; or
       ``(6) if there is no individual qualifying under paragraph 
     (1), (2), (3), (4), or (5), to the surviving individual (or 
     individuals, in equal shares) who would qualify under the 
     definition of the term `child' under section 1204 but for 
     age.'';
       (B) in subsection (b)--
       (i) by striking ``direct result of a catastrophic'' and 
     inserting ``direct and proximate result of a personal'';
       (ii) by striking ``pay,'' and all that follows through 
     ``the same'' and inserting ``pay the same'';
       (iii) by striking ``in any year'' and inserting ``to the 
     public safety officer (if living on the date on which the 
     determination is made)'';
       (iv) by striking ``in such year, adjusted'' and inserting 
     ``with respect to the date on which the catastrophic injury 
     occurred, as adjusted'';
       (v) by striking ``, to such officer'';
       (vi) by striking ``the total'' and all that follows through 
     ``For'' and inserting ``for''; and
       (vii) by striking ``That these'' and all that follows 
     through the period, and inserting ``That the amount payable 
     under this subsection shall be the amount payable as of the 
     date of catastrophic injury of such public safety officer.'';
       (C) in subsection (f)--
       (i) in paragraph (1), by striking ``, as amended (D.C. 
     Code, sec. 4-622); or'' and inserting a semicolon;
       (ii) in paragraph (2)--

       (I) by striking ``. Such beneficiaries shall only receive 
     benefits under such section 8191 that'' and inserting ``, 
     such that beneficiaries shall receive only such benefits 
     under such section 8191 as''; and
       (II) by striking the period at the end and inserting ``; 
     or''; and

       (iii) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(3) payments under the September 11th Victim Compensation 
     Fund of 2001 (49 U.S.C. 40101 note; Public Law 107-42).'';
       (D) by amending subsection (k) to read as follows:
       ``(k) As determined by the Bureau, a heart attack, stroke, 
     or vascular rupture suffered by a public safety officer shall 
     be presumed to constitute a personal injury within the 
     meaning of subsection (a), sustained in the line of duty by 
     the officer and directly and proximately resulting in death, 
     if--
       ``(1) the public safety officer, while on duty--
       ``(A) engages in a situation involving nonroutine stressful 
     or strenuous physical law enforcement, fire suppression, 
     rescue, hazardous material response, emergency medical 
     services, prison security, disaster relief, or other 
     emergency response activity; or
       ``(B) participates in a training exercise involving 
     nonroutine stressful or strenuous physical activity;
       ``(2) the heart attack, stroke, or vascular rupture 
     commences--
       ``(A) while the officer is engaged or participating as 
     described in paragraph (1);
       ``(B) while the officer remains on that duty after being 
     engaged or participating as described in paragraph (1); or
       ``(C) not later than 24 hours after the officer is engaged 
     or participating as described in paragraph (1); and
       ``(3) the heart attack, stroke, or vascular rupture 
     directly and proximately results in the death of the public 
     safety officer,
     unless competent medical evidence establishes that the heart 
     attack, stroke, or vascular rupture was unrelated to the 
     engagement or participation or was directly and proximately 
     caused by something other than the mere presence of 
     cardiovascular-disease risk factors.''; and
       (E) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(n) The public safety agency, organization, or unit 
     responsible for maintaining on file an executed designation 
     of beneficiary or executed life insurance policy for purposes 
     of subsection (a)(4) shall maintain the confidentiality of 
     the designation or policy in the same manner as the agency, 
     organization, or unit maintains personnel or other similar 
     records of the public safety officer.'';
       (3) in section 1202 (42 U.S.C. 3796a)--
       (A) by striking ``death'', each place it appears except the 
     second place it appears, and inserting ``fatal''; and
       (B) in paragraph (1), by striking ``or catastrophic 
     injury'' the second place it appears and inserting ``, 
     disability, or injury'';
       (4) in section 1203 (42 U.S.C. 3796a-1)--
       (A) in the section heading, by striking ``who have died in 
     the line of duty'' and inserting ``who have sustained fatal 
     or catastrophic injury in the line of duty''; and
       (B) by striking ``who have died in the line of duty'' and 
     inserting ``who have sustained fatal or catastrophic injury 
     in the line of duty'';
       (5) in section 1204 (42 U.S.C. 3796b)--
       (A) in paragraph (1), by striking ``consequences of an 
     injury that'' and inserting ``an injury, the direct and 
     proximate consequences of which'';
       (B) in paragraph (3)--
       (i) in the matter preceding clause (i)--

       (I) by inserting ``or permanently and totally disabled'' 
     after ``deceased''; and
       (II) by striking ``death'' and inserting ``fatal or 
     catastrophic injury''; and

       (ii) by redesignating clauses (i), (ii), and (iii) as 
     subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C), respectively;
       (C) in paragraph (5)--
       (i) by striking ``post-mortem'' each place it appears and 
     inserting ``post-injury''; and
       (ii) by redesignating clauses (i) and (ii) as subparagraphs 
     (A) and (B), respectively;
       (D) in paragraph (7), by striking ``public employee member 
     of a rescue squad or ambulance crew;'' and inserting 
     ``employee or volunteer member of a rescue squad or ambulance 
     crew (including a ground or air ambulance service) that--
       ``(A) is a public agency; or
       ``(B) is (or is a part of) a nonprofit entity serving the 
     public that--
       ``(i) is officially authorized or licensed to engage in 
     rescue activity or to provide emergency medical services; and
       ``(ii) engages in rescue activities or provides emergency 
     medical services as part of an official emergency response 
     system;''; and
       (E) in paragraph (9)--
       (i) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``as a chaplain, or as 
     a member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew;'' and inserting 
     ``or as a chaplain;'';
       (ii) in subparagraph (B)(ii), by striking ``or'' after the 
     semicolon;
       (iii) in subparagraph (C)(ii), by striking the period and 
     inserting ``; or''; and
       (iv) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(D) a member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew who, as 
     authorized or licensed by

[[Page H3995]]

     law and by the applicable agency or entity, is engaging in 
     rescue activity or in the provision of emergency medical 
     services.''
       (6) in section 1205 (42 U.S.C. 3796c), by adding at the end 
     the following:
       ``(d) Unless expressly provided otherwise, any reference in 
     this part to any provision of law not in this part shall be 
     understood to constitute a general reference under the 
     doctrine of incorporation by reference, and thus to include 
     any subsequent amendments to the provision.'';
       (7) in each of subsections (a) and (b) of section 1212 (42 
     U.S.C. 3796d-1), sections 1213 and 1214 (42 U.S.C. 3796d-2 
     and 3796d-3), and subsections (b) and (c) of section 1216 (42 
     U.S.C. 3796d-5), by striking ``dependent'' each place it 
     appears and inserting ``person'';
       (8) in section 1212 (42 U.S.C. 3796d-1)--
       (A) in subsection (a)--
       (i) in paragraph (1), in the matter preceding subparagraph 
     (A), by striking ``Subject'' and all that follows through ``, 
     the'' and inserting ``The''; and
       (ii) in paragraph (3), by striking ``reduced by'' and all 
     that follows through ``(B) the amount'' and inserting 
     ``reduced by the amount'';
       (B) in subsection (c)--
       (i) in the subsection heading, by striking ``Dependent''; 
     and
       (ii) by striking ``dependent'';
       (9) in paragraphs (2) and (3) of section 1213(b) (42 U.S.C. 
     3796d-2(b)), by striking ``dependent's'' each place it 
     appears and inserting ``person's'';
       (10) in section 1216 (42 U.S.C. 3796d-5)--
       (A) in subsection (a), by striking ``each dependent'' each 
     place it appears and inserting ``a spouse or child''; and
       (B) by striking ``dependents'' each place it appears and 
     inserting ``a person''; and
       (11) in section 1217(3)(A) (42 U.S.C. 3796d-6(3)(A)), by 
     striking ``described in'' and all that follows and inserting 
     ``an institution of higher education, as defined in section 
     102 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1002); 
     and''.
       (b) Amendment Related to Expedited Payment for Public 
     Safety Officers Involved in the Prevention, Investigation, 
     Rescue, or Recovery Efforts Related to a Terrorist Attack.--
     Section 611(a) of the Uniting and Strengthening America by 
     Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and 
     Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001 (42 U.S.C. 
     3796c-1(a)) is amended by inserting ``or an entity described 
     in section 1204(7)(B) of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe 
     Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3796b(7)(B))'' after 
     ``employed by such agency''.
       (c) Technical and Conforming Amendment.--Section 
     402(l)(4)(C) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is 
     amended--
       (1) by striking ``section 1204(9)(A)'' and inserting 
     ``section 1204(10)(A)''; and
       (2) by striking ``42 U.S.C. 3796b(9)(A)'' and inserting 
     ``42 U.S.C. 3796b(10)(A)''.

     SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS; DETERMINATIONS; 
                   APPEALS.

       The matter under the heading ``public safety officers 
     benefits'' under the heading ``Office of Justice Programs'' 
     under title II of division B of the Consolidated 
     Appropriations Act, 2008 (Public Law 110-161; 121 Stat. 1912; 
     42 U.S.C. 3796c-2) is amended--
       (1) by striking ``decisions'' and inserting 
     ``determinations'';
       (2) by striking ``(including those, and any related 
     matters, pending)''; and
       (3) by striking the period at the end and inserting the 
     following: ``:  Provided further, That, on and after the date 
     of enactment of the Public Safety Officers' Benefits 
     Improvements Act of 2012, as to each such statute--
       ``(1) the provisions of section 1001(a)(4) of such title I 
     (42 U.S.C. 3793(a)(4)) shall apply;
       ``(2) payment (other than payment made pursuant to section 
     611 of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing 
     Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct 
     Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001 (42 U.S.C. 3796c-1)) 
     shall be made only upon a determination by the Bureau that 
     the facts legally warrant the payment;
       ``(3) any reference to section 1202 of such title I shall 
     be deemed to be a reference to paragraphs (2) and (3) of such 
     section 1202; and
       ``(4) a certification submitted under any such statute 
     (other than a certification submitted pursuant to section 611 
     of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing 
     Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct 
     Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001 (42 U.S.C. 3796c-1)) 
     may be accepted by the Bureau as prima facie evidence of the 
     facts asserted in the certification:
       Provided further, That, on and after the date of enactment 
     of the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Improvements Act of 
     2012, no appeal shall bring any final determination of the 
     Bureau before any court for review unless notice of appeal is 
     filed (within the time specified herein and in the manner 
     prescribed for appeal to United States courts of appeals from 
     United States district courts) not later than 90 days after 
     the date on which the Bureau serves notice of the final 
     determination:  Provided further,  That any regulations 
     promulgated by the Bureau under such part (or any such 
     statute) before, on, or after the date of enactment of the 
     Public Safety Officers' Benefits Improvements Act of 2012 
     shall apply to any matter pending on, or filed or accruing 
     after, the effective date specified in the regulations.''.

     SEC. 4. EFFECTIVE DATE.

       (a) In General.--Except as provided in subsection (b), the 
     amendments made by this Act shall--
       (1) take effect on the date of enactment of this Act; and
       (2) apply to any matter pending, before the Bureau of 
     Justice Assistance or otherwise, on the date of enactment of 
     this Act, or filed or accruing after that date.
       (b) Exceptions.--
       (1) Rescue squads and ambulance crews.--For a member of a 
     rescue squad or ambulance crew (as defined in section 1204(7) 
     of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act 
     of 1968, as amended by this Act), the amendments made by this 
     Act shall apply to injuries sustained on or after June 1, 
     2009.
       (2) Heart attacks, strokes, and vascular ruptures.--Section 
     1201(k) of title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe 
     Streets Act of 1968, as amended by this Act, shall apply to 
     heart attacks, strokes, and vascular ruptures sustained on or 
     after December 15, 2003.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Texas (Mr. Smith) and the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Johnson) each 
will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas.


                             General Leave

  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all 
Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend 
their remarks and include extraneous materials on H.R. 4018, as 
amended, currently under consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Texas?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  H.R. 4018, the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Improvements Act of 
2012, amends an existing program within the Justice Department that 
administers benefits to certain public safety officers killed or 
disabled in the line of duty.
  I commend Representative Michael Fitzpatrick for his leadership on 
this issue and am pleased to be a cosponsor of this legislation.
  The bill makes changes to the class of beneficiaries as well as some 
common-sense, cost-saving reforms to the program.
  Congress originally passed the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Act, 
PSOB, in 1976. This program evolved from concern that State and local 
public safety officers and their families were not being provided with 
adequate death benefits. And that the low level of benefits might 
impede recruitment efforts and impair morale.
  Originally, the PSOB program provided only death benefits to the 
survivors of officers killed in the line of duty. It was later expanded 
to provide benefits to officers disabled in the line of duty and 
education benefits to the spouses and children of officers killed or 
disabled in the line of duty.
  Congress has amended the PSOB program many times since its inception. 
Some of the changes have resulted in inconsistencies within the law or 
have unintentionally resulted in a delay in the PSOB benefit process.
  For example, each PSOB claimant must be examined by an impartial 
medical examiner who then advises the Justice Department regarding 
their decision to award benefits. But the PSOB statute and its 
regulations require that the medical examiner be hired from the city 
where the officer was killed or injured.
  This causes significant delays and adds expense in processing PSOB 
claims and in administering the overall program.
  The Department spends significant time and resources to find a 
medical professional who is familiar with the PSOB program and its 
requirements. That medical professional must also be available and 
agree to perform the necessary medical exam. This process can take 
weeks, if not months, to complete.
  This bill provides a solution to this inefficiency. It allows the 
Department to develop and draw from a pool of trusted, qualified 
medical professionals to perform the necessary examinations across the 
country. This is similar to how the PSOB program authorizes their 
hearing examiners.
  This simple change saves valuable time and taxpayer dollars. It also 
ensures that the public safety officers and their families receive 
these much-needed benefits more quickly.
  H.R. 4018 also clarifies who are eligible beneficiaries when an 
officer is killed in the line of duty. Currently, the payment of 
benefits is often postponed, sometimes for years, while the issue of 
who is the proper beneficiary is litigated.
  This bill creates a new category of beneficiaries, ``adult children 
of deceased public safety officers,'' to clarify eligible beneficiaries 
in certain cases where there are none. These cases include when a 
public safety officer's children are all adults, there is no surviving 
spouse, no applicable designation of beneficiary is on file with the 
public agency, and the officer's parents are deceased.

[[Page H3996]]

  The PSOB benefits can currently be awarded to police officers, 
firefighters, chaplains or certain members of a rescue squad or 
ambulance crew who serve a public agency.
  But PSOB benefits are not currently authorized for volunteer 
emergency medical personnel. This bill fixes this inequity in a narrow 
way that when combined with savings from other efficiencies made by the 
bill, does not result in additional expense to the taxpayer.
  I urge my colleagues to join me in support of this bill.
  Madam Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from Pennsylvania 
(Mr. Fitzpatrick), who is the sponsor of this legislation.
  Mr. FITZPATRICK. Thank you, Chairman Smith, for your time and your 
support and your leadership on this significant reform legislation. 
Your staff has been wonderful to work with. I'd like to give special 
recognition to Caroline Lynch and Art Baker, both of whom did a 
fantastic job on this bill.
  Madam Speaker, I rise to urge my colleagues to support these needed 
reforms to the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program. The Public 
Safety Officers' Benefit Act created the program in 1976 to provide 
benefits to the families of those first responders who die or become 
disabled in the line of duty.
  For the past 35 years, Congress has affirmed its support for the 
program and these benefits. Now we have the opportunity, through needed 
reforms, to make the PSOB program even better. This bill corrects a 
tragic oversight in current law that unfairly excludes certain first 
responders.
  My inspiration for this bill, Madam Speaker, is Daniel McIntosh. 
``Danny Mac,'' as he was known to his family and his friends, was a 
veteran of the Bensalem Emergency Medical Services. Dan served numerous 
other Bucks County communities both as a paramedic and as a volunteer 
firefighter since 1993. He was a volunteer firefighter for the Point 
Pleasant Fire Company and had achieved life member status. He was a 
member of the Nottingham Fire Department, a newly sworn police officer 
for the Hulmeville Police Department, and was a TAC Medic for the Bucks 
County SWAT Team and for the Bucks County Hazardous Materials SWAT 
Team. As we can see, Dan's life was dedicated to public service, and he 
gave his life doing what he loved.
  Danny suffered a fatal heart attack while in the performance of his 
duties as a member of the Bensalem Rescue Squad. Because the entity 
that he was working with was a nonprofit emergency medical service 
provider, his family has been denied the PSOB benefit. This is unfair 
treatment for those who put themselves in harm's way in service to 
their communities. This bill would change that and ensure that families 
like Danny's receive the benefits they deserve.
  I recognize and I thank the McIntosh family for the sacrifice that 
they made to our community. I also recognize the legacy of Dale Long, a 
Vermont EMT, who was killed in an ambulance accident in 2009 and whose 
life has motivated companion PSOB reform in the Senate. I am proud to 
sponsor this legislation for them and for the loved ones of first 
responders all across our great country.
  Finally, Madam Speaker, this bill includes numerous taxpayer 
protections and streamlines the delivery of benefits. Many of us came 
to Congress on the promise to make government more efficient and more 
effective, and this bill would do just that. Members supporting this 
legislation will be able to report to their constituents that not only 
are they being good stewards of the taxpayer dollars but that they are 
also improving a program that provides widely supported benefits to our 
Nation's first responders.
  At this time, Madam Speaker, I note the support of many organizations 
for the bill, including the American Ambulance Association, the 
National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, the National 
Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police 
Organizations, as well as several rescue squads from across my home 
State of Pennsylvania.
  I want to again thank Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Conyers for 
their leadership and for their support for this very important piece of 
reform legislation. I urge my colleagues to support it as well.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  H.R. 4018, the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Improvements Act, 
appropriately expands the scope of this important program to better 
assist our public safety officers and their families. The PSOB program 
has been an important means of supporting our public safety officers 
since 1976, when the authorizing legislation was enacted.
  Initially, the program provided death benefits for certain officers, 
but it has since been expanded to apply to a wide range of those who 
protect us to now include Federal, State and local police officers, 
firefighters, public rescue squads, ambulance crews, and chaplains of 
those agencies.
  The PSOB program currently provides death benefits in the form of a 
onetime financial payment to the eligible survivors of public safety 
officers whose deaths are the direct and proximate result of a personal 
injury sustained in the line of duty. The program also provides 
financial assistance to help pay higher education costs for the spouses 
and children of public safety officers for whom PSOB death or 
disability benefits have been paid.
  This bill extends the coverage of the program to members of nonprofit 
rescue squads and ambulance crews who suffer fatal or catastrophic 
injury as a result of their performances of certain specified public 
safety activities within their specific lines of duty. The bill also 
extends the coverage to vascular ruptures in addition to the existing 
coverage of heart attacks and strokes occurring during non-routine 
line-of-duty activities.
  H.R. 4018 also includes a number of other provisions clarifying the 
inconsistencies that have arisen due to prior amendments to the PSOB 
Act, and it makes the administration of the program more efficient so 
that these officers may more quickly obtain the benefits they and their 
families deserve.
  Our public safety officers willingly undergo long hours and often 
dangerous conditions to protect all of us, and we all know that they 
are not compensated at a level commensurate with the dangers they face 
and the importance of the services that they provide. When they die or 
become disabled because they are acting to help us, providing these 
benefits is the right thing to do. I hope this bill will make this 
program work even better during those unfortunate instances when it is 
necessary.
  I urge my colleagues to support this legislation, and I yield back 
the balance of my time.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Madam Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentleman 
from Texas, Judge Poe, who is a member of the Judiciary Committee.
  Mr. POE of Texas. I would like to thank the chairman for the time.
  I especially want to thank Representative Fitzpatrick from 
Pennsylvania for introducing this important legislation, which makes 
improvements and reforms the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program.
  This program is intended to expedite the processing of claims and 
expand coverage to include some nonprofit emergency personnel who are 
currently not covered by this important program.
  The reason H.R. 4018 is important is that 72 police officers were 
killed by perpetrators in 2011, and that number represents a 25 percent 
increase from the previous year and a 75 percent increase from 2008.
  One of these 72 was 38-year-old Houston police officer George Will. 
He was killed by an out-of-control drunk driver. Officer Will was 
investigating an accident. The drunk driver comes barreling, out of 
control, down the freeway. Officer Will sees him coming and pushes a 
witness out of the way so that witness to the first accident wouldn't 
be hit. While doing so, the drunk driver ran over and killed Officer 
Will. He left behind a wife, two stepchildren; and the wife he left 
behind was pregnant. Also in 2011, a total of 61 on-duty firefighters 
were killed in the United States.
  So, in 1 year, that's 133 families who don't have a father or a 
mother anymore.

                              {time}  1530

  And the last thing these families should have to worry about after 
facing

[[Page H3997]]

the loss of a father or mother first responder is financial 
instability.
  Madam Speaker, in my career as a judge and a former prosecutor in 
Houston, I knew a lot of first responders. Some of them were later 
killed in public service to our communities. Our Nation's police, 
firefighters, and EMS workers are our true national treasures. They are 
the ones that run into burning buildings when everybody else runs out 
of those burning buildings. They are the ones that put their lives on 
the line every day to keep us safe and protect our communities. They go 
into the shadows and dark corners of our society looking for do-bads, 
outlaws, and social misfits. This work, Madam Speaker, is dangerous.
  When these Americans wake up every day, they need to be able to focus 
on the duty they have before them, and they need to know that if, God 
forbid, something happens to them on their duty shift, that their 
family will be taken care of.
  For all these reasons, I support H.R. 4018. I urge my colleagues to 
support it. And once again, I thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania for 
this legislation.
  And that's just the way it is.
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Madam Speaker, I understand that the gentleman 
from Georgia has yielded back his time; if so, I yield back the balance 
of my time as well.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of 
H.R. 4018, the ``Public Safety Officers' Benefits Improvements Act of 
2012,'' which would modify the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Act 
(PSOBA) of 1976 which currently provides benefits payments to certain 
survivors of public safety officers who are killed or permanently and 
totally disabled in the line of duty. Under current law, the families 
of public safety officers who have died as a result of injuries 
sustained in the line of duty are eligible for a one-time payment of 
about $320,000. Public safety officers who have been permanently 
disabled are eligible for the same payment, but this payment is subject 
to the availability of appropriated funds.
  As a Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee 
on Transportation Security and Infrastructure, I am well aware that 
there are currently gaps in the laws as it pertains to those safety 
officers who put their lives on the line but may not have the high 
profiles of police officers or firefighters. Nevertheless, for those 
unsung heroes and faithful men and women who continually place their 
own well being in danger for the sake of saving the lives of strangers, 
this bill is a mere step in the right direction by expanding the types 
of benefits available to their families when serious injuries or deaths 
occur.
  H.R. 4018 narrows the eligibility of members of rescue squads or 
ambulance crews for benefits under the PSOB program; as a result, some 
individuals would no longer receive benefits that they could receive 
under current laws.
  The bill prevents individuals from receiving certain benefits under 
the program if they receive payments from the September 11th Victim 
Compensation Fund of 2001. Likewise, this legislation would make many 
technical and administrative changes that aim to expedite the 
processing of claims for benefits.
  Over the years the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Act has been 
amended to expand the scope of the definitions ``member of a rescue 
squad or ambulance crew'' and ``public safety officer.'' This 
definition now includes an officially recognized or designated employee 
or volunteer member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew that is a 
public agency of a nonprofit entity serving the public that is 
officially authorized or licensed to engage in rescue activity or to 
provide emergency medical services and that is officially designated as 
a prehospital emergency medical response agency.
  The Act provides death benefits in the form of a single financial 
payment to eligible survivors of public safety officers whose death is 
the direct and proximate result of a personal injury during the 
performance of duty. Additionally the Act provides for financial 
assistance to help pay higher education costs for the children and 
spouses of public safety officers for whom disability benefits have 
been paid.
  This bill is needed to efficiently support the families devastated by 
death or catastrophic injuries sustained while acting in the official 
capacity of a public safety officer's job. It is my hope that by 
supporting this bill Congress can come together to better accommodate, 
acknowledge and assist the brave public safety officers who sustain 
injuries while serving members of their communities across this great 
country.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Texas (Mr. Smith) that the House suspend the rules and 
pass the bill, H.R. 4018, as amended.
  The question was taken.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds 
being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.
  Mr. JOHNSON of Georgia. Madam Speaker, I object to the vote on the 
ground that a quorum is not present and make the point of order that a 
quorum is not present.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this question will be postponed.
  The point of no quorum is considered withdrawn.

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